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Karim Rashid is a prolific industrial designer whose designs include luxury goods, furniture, lighting, surface design, brand identity, and packaging. He was invited to be the Keynote Speaker at the 2015 Economic Times Acetech in Mumbai. Time magazine has described him as the "most famous industrial designer in all the Americas". Shweta Kaushik and Khushboo Parekh, design professionals and interior designers with Master’s degrees from Domus Academy Milan, were privy to his keynote speech, with insights on designing for the future.

 

 

Here are a few takeaways from Shweta and Khushboo, who covered this event and took away some trends on what moving towards a digital India means to their design sensibilities. 

Designers in Mumbai are a little starved when it comes to listening to and interacting with famous designers from around the world. Having lived in Milan, we have been fortunate to have them as guest lecturers; we even stumbled upon them at the annual furniture fair in Milan at iSaloni, (a world-famous furniture exhibition in Milan) and even drank a glass of champagne with some. So imagine our excitement when we heard that Karim Rashid - design crusader in pink - had been chosen to give the keynote address at one of Asia's leading trade fairs to be held in Mumbai. Rashid is an iconic designer; someone who takes into account human experiences, social behaviours, global economic and political issues to formulate his design thinking. Contemporary, cutting-edge and bold, his countless designs have won numerous awards in more than a dozen countries.  We were thrilled to be invited by The Economic Times Acetech, a leading trade fair in the world for architecture, construction, building materials, engineering, interiors and design to attend his keynote speech. 

Karim Rashid began by addressing how the world has changed over the last thirty years and the implications of democratising design in this new world. Design, he said, is not just a subject of style and aesthetics, but influences and changes our social, economic, and political behaviour as well. Rashid touched upon a very interesting and thought provoking subject: The physical world is stuck in the analogue way of thinking and lags behind when compared to the fast moving digital era. The banality of the analogue world does not excite Rashid, who is trying his best to bridge the gap between the fast moving, energetic digital world and the physical world. In India, we have a long way to go in our design thinking for the future, although with several brands offering home automation to Indian home-owners, we are slowly but surely progressing towards a digital future.  

Here are some practical ideas that we took away from Karim Rashid's talk; ideas to implement his futuristic design thinking projects for your own residential spaces.

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Yale Smart Lock
The Yale Smart Lock makes its traditional counterpart obsolete. The smart lock does away with the hassle of carrying your keys around by making it possible to use your fingerprint, smart card, or the keypad to open your door.

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Panasonic's Motion Sensors from their Home Automation Solutions turn the lights on when you enter a room, eliminating the need to hunt around for switches, and potentially saving electricity.

Why can't we have a seamless experience as we navigate through our world? Why don't objects and spaces reflect today's contemporary methods of production? These are only a few of the questions that we were compelled to take away from his talk. These musings and reflections are also the basis of Rashid's own designs, which allow him to create original work that reflects and showcase our future. He has created award-winning designs for brands like Christofle, where he created a futuristic collection titled Urban Facets.

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Urban Facet by Karim Rashid for Christofle

He has created democratic products for Umbra a company that designs and manufactures housewares.

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The Iconic Magino Stool made of Acrylic Plastic, that Rashid created for Umbra.

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For Vondom, Karim made a set of futuristic looking furniture, paying an ode to angles. The collection titled Vertex is a curious set of tables and chairs that are joined dynamically via triangular planes. 
 

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Karim Rashid also made a Halo Table Lamp for Artemide. This lamp is made from metal, silicon and polymer. The unique feature is the central pivot allows the diffuser to lean vertically from 0 to 90 degrees.

Designing for the future, he opines, requires us to design in 3D. When we do that we shape a 4D world where the fourth dimension is time. The addition of time helps shape a more experiential world and to quote Rashid “that’s what design is: to make a better human experience.” 

“I believe that we could be living in an entirely different world - one that is full of real contemporary inspiring objects, spaces, places, worlds, spirits and experiences. Design has been the cultural shaper of our world from the start. We have designed systems, cities, and commodities. We have addressed the world’s problems. Now design is not about solving problems, but about a rigorous beautification of our built environments. Design is about the betterment of our lives poetically, aesthetically, experientially, sensorily, and emotionally. My real desire is to see people live in the modus of our time, to participate in the contemporary world, and to release themselves from nostalgia, antiquated traditions, old rituals, kitsch and the meaningless. We should be conscious and attune with this world in this moment. If human nature is to live in the past - to change the world is to change human nature.”
- Karim Rashid 

 

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